Subject: LUSA: Population set to double every 18 years

East Timor: Population set to double every 18 years

Dili, Aug. 4 (Lusa) - The population of East Timor will double every 18 years if the current birth rate is maintained, a Health Ministry report showed Thursday.

The country currently has a population of around 900,000 people and a birth rate of 3.9%, while the average Timorese woman has 7.7 children.

In the predominantly Roman Catholic former Portuguese colony 70% of the male population knows nothing about the contraceptive methods available and just 0.5% admitted to using condoms, the report said.

Statistics in the report show that between 1999 and 2003 the death rate was of 83 per 1,000 people against 165 deaths per 1,000 recorded for the period between 1989 and 1993, a time when East Timor was under Indonesian occupation.

The Ministry of Health said that wide-scale vaccination programs and improved pre-natal care were largely responsible for decreased mortality.



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